Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

“Wrong” is a word I rarely use, it’s so…well, judgmental for one and so dependent on perspective for another. So how to depict “wrong.” That of course is the photo challenge.

The little guy below isn’t wrong, but my understanding certainly was. We passed him at the mouth of an alley in Old Town San Diego, and at first, I thought he was mechanical and playing the keyboard, but no, I was wrong. He wasn’t playing at all and it wasn’t a keyboard, only a recording coming out of the keyboard. But whatever it was, it got people to noticing the shop behind (see giraffe) which sold all sorts of interesting and novel creations. So that part was “right.”

Maybe that the thing about wrong and right; two words on different sides of the same coin (the coin we use to pay for trinkets!).

Just a Keyboard Man

The Wall

We have a wall….which is sort of like We have a Pope, but not. It’s not even Pink Floyd. But it is cause for celebration, none-the-less.

If you remember, and if you don’t you’re forgiven because your life has also had its crazy moments, when I last wrote, our wall was deconstructed to the studs after removing bees and honey and going to San Diego for a wedding and coming back:

Cliff and I had a few days of rest. After all, everything was out of the office – and in our bedroom, stacked – we couldn’t find anything. So we didn’t bother. We watched television and took naps. Other than taking a photo, we didn’t look at the wall much either. And then the Sons came home and began banging and building. We made so many trips to Home Depot, I felt like I should take a blow-up mattress and just live, reaching my hand out with the credit card whenever necessary.

However, I wanted insulation in the wall since the wall no longer would consist of inch-thick plaster and I hate cold drafts on my neck, so I came home with insulation and applied same. That was my job. Younger Son is alergic to insulation and Older Son doesn’t like it much either. But he held the strips as I stapled.

The Wall, Insulated

And then it was The Boys turn. They bought something called hardy-board but which to me looked like old-fashioned masonite and half inch drywall and a LOT of drywall mud. I wanted a wall strong enough to hold a wall full of pictures and drywall is not so strong. And I wanted to make the wall look like the other three plaster walls in the room (not smoothe and pretty? Younger Son asked) Hense, to humor me, they added the sturdy hardy-board (I realize I may have the wrong word here or the wrong spelling (but I do the best I can with what I know) and extra tubs of mud.So then we had a wall.

Next it was my turn again. I spent a day plastering the drywall with drywall mud to simulate plaster. It worked pretty well and gave the wall a nice texture. And while I know quite a bit about working with plaster (I re-plastered the hall a few years ago in another learning project), I knew nothing about drywall mud. But I learned. It dries way too quick and doesn’t always do what it looks like it should do. Next time.

And then we all, “all” meaning all four of us, got into the painting bit. Cliff even got involved. He’s a good painter. Me, not so much. We painted a base coat on everything which helped fill in old holes and gouges in various places (this is a 1920s built house after all), and then we added color. After a day of curing, we moved the desk in. And the computer. And then slowly, we began adding. It’s taken longer to get everything on the walls, after the paint, than it did to build the thing.

There’s still stuff piled on the desk, but I’m a writer. I have piles of stuff. But we have a room in jacaranda blue, which reminds me of the jacaranda tree outside my window when I lived in Mexico, and white trim. We have a wall. And a chair in the corner, the blue covered thing, where I can sit and write with the laptop on my lap and still look out my window at the willow.


Just Crazy

My friend Teresa has a blog called CRAZIE TOWN. She writes funny stories about her family. Lately, she’s also been writing about cleaning out her office. Mostly, she writes funny stories. I never write funny but I’d like to. So Theresa, you’ve prodded me. Here’s MY cleaning office story. I’d also like to steal her title and use it for my life right now, but she already has it. So I could say crazy family or crazy house or Just Crazy, which, given my life over the past month or two, seems the most appropriate.It began in the spring with Youngest Son talking about the necessity of leaving San Diego when his son, my grandson, is deployed to Japan. My daughter-in-law is working away from home right now and Youngest Son neither likes living alone nor does he like what it costs to live alone in San Diego. Could he come here if he needed to, he asked. Sure, we said. No problem.

And like a log jam caught in spring’s thawing river ice, “Sure” got things moving. Tumbling, one could even say.

When school was out, Oldest Son, who also lives with us (you will notice children remain nameless — their condition for me writing about them), flew out to San Diego to help Youngest Son move. We’d already begun cleaning and tossing in preparation for the move. It was like a giant house jigsaw puzzle. In order to make space for another bedroom, we had to move the Big Office which my husband and I share into my Writing Office, which we’ll now share, but in order to move into the Writing Office we had to move the sofa from the Writing Office to the basement, and in order to move the sofa to the basement, we had to clean the basement. Ergo. Puzzle making.

We also had to clean out the garage so the items moved from San Diego could be stored in said garage until we completed all the rest of the shifting. I made an appointment with the city for Bulky Item pickup. That was good. We needed to toss some stuff. So we cleaned and tossed and made a pile of expendable things inside the backyard gate.

Then Two Sons returned and offloaded all the stuff they brought back from San Diego into the cleaned garage and spent the night and left the next day for Florida because Youngest Son has stored household items from his move before moving to San Diego. Now we have boxes and bins and a motorcycle. And a very small garage.

Garage turned into Storage



So while Two Sons were gone, Husband and I cleaned more. And since the Writing Office was empty of sofa and since we hadn’t filled it back up, it seemed a perfect time to do some painting. We began with a base coat.

Writing Office wall ready to paint

Notice the small rectangular shadowed spot at the bottom corner of the window. That’s a faceplate for a plug. I took said faceplate off so I could paint around it. Simple, right? A bee flew out. Okay…. That set off a flurry of activity. We shooed the bee out an opened window and put the faceplate back on and looked out the window you see here and a swarm of bees were lining up at the edge of the roof below the gutter as if it were a runway. It was. We had a wall full of bees. We could hear them if we lay an ear to the plaster wall. We hadn’t before but then who listens to a wall?

At about that time, the Two Sons returned from Florida with more stuff and with moving and layering and a big trailer and all that, we finally got around to finding a bee removal company on Monday. They came. Yes, we had a wall of bees. But they were booked (seems June is big bee time in Kansas City). They could come on Thursday. Early? Can you come early? we asked. We were leaving to fly to grandson’s wedding in San Diego on Thursday. Ah, yes, that’s an added piece of adventure. Husband and I were presiding at said wedding and since it was Younger Son’s son, well, we were all going. A friend, bless friends, came to babysit the house and the bee removers and the bees until they were finished so we could leave. For the airport. (And if you are really really interested, we have a zip file of photos the bee removers took of the process — they removed the interior wall, the bees, and about 60 pounds of honey.)

We left the house in chaos and came back to chaos (the weekend in San Diego wonderful, the wedding wonderful, and if you’re interested there are photos on my Facebook page). All the books, the ones we didn’t toss, are congregated on one wall of what is no longer the Big Office but Younger Son’s bedroom and all the file cabinets which have been cleaned and purged are stacked along the wall with the pieces of a desk, and I can’t find anything. 

Former Big Office now storage

And we have a room that has no wall against which nothing is stacked. I’d prefer a desk with computer. But not.

But no bees. Or honey. No sons either.

Two Sons went to Las Vegas with their dad, smart men, for a vacation. They will be back in a few days and in the meantime, we are resting. What more can we do? Except I can’t find the recently purchased bag of epsom salts to soak my resting body. As I said, I can’t find anything. 

Younger son is a builder and Elder Son is an electrician so he will run wiring along the bottom edge of the studs so I can have another outlet (sans bees we hope) and Younger Son will put up sheet rock and paint and so mostly right now Husband and I are resting and searching for things. You don’t even want to see all the stuff stacked in our bedroom. I’ll spare you that shot.  

We dragged all the unnecessary items stacked against the backyard gate out to curbside and Bulky Item Pickup picked up today. That’s done. And since I don’t have anything else to do, I mean how much resting can you do?? this seemed the perfect time to re-finish the old desk for the Writing Office. Might as well. It’s already on the back porch.  

Desk with no Office

So while we wait, I’ll just be crazy. Might as well. It passes the time. .   

Photo Challenge: Sky

Border War

I’ve not had much time to write stories to tell the tale of our journey out to California and back, so I’ll let photos show you. The sky. The amazing California sky going up the coast from San Diego north to LA glows in the first four photos:

We’d visited Imperial Beach in San Diego, as far south as we were able to go. The dot in the middle of the sky is a helicopter, circling and circling the same patch of what looked like switchgrass in water. The signs said it a project to San Diego water works, but in reality, it looked a no-man’s land. The infamous border wall lies about two-thirds of the way up the distant range of hills. And the sky looks dusty.

 When we left San Diego a few days late, we drove Highway 1, next to the ocean, as often as we could. Camp Pendleton, a Marine base around for more years than I am old, sits just north of San Diego talking up a lot of real estate, along with several Navy sites. We had to get on the Interstate, go around the security zone, and then find our way back to Highway 1.
On one of our detours around – well whatever we were detouring, we came to the end of the road and found this most wonderful sailboat parking lot. How do they do that? Park those boats so close without damage?
Sailboats in the Sky
And then, beyond the zone of fancy security zones, we entered the zone of fanciful living communities. And state parks filled with people playing frisbee and running in the waves. And stately houses, some up on cliffs overlooking the sea and some along the beach, shoulder to shoulder – private beach, I might add.
Hippie-Chic, Happy-City
 But then we came to Encinitas – and it was everything we might dream it could be. Happy and colorful and old-time hippie-ness. Sort of like Dude and Dudesses. It was very cool. And we laughed all the way though town. You’ll notice the sky is even a deeper and riper blue.
 But the oddest sky photo came a few miles on beyond the sea communities where the view opened into land and sea. Ahead, in the sky, a jet traced a perfect circle with its con trail. And if that wasn’t enough, the jet took off, made a turn, and came back to trace one line and then another into an X.
X Marks Which Spot???
 Now that’s some flying acrobatics on a Sunday afternoon.
The final two photos are from the drive back from California home. We went northeast from Los Angeles through Las Vegas and into Utah where we hit the tail end of I70 – which we then followed all the way home nearly to our driveway.
Utah Sky
Here’s the Utah sky between dun-colored hills. Dry hills that would have appreciated the clouds dropping inches of rain. But at least while we were driving this stretch, no rain fell.
Actually, no rain fell on us all the way back for that matter. A clear-sailing road – can roads offer clear sailing? I’m mixing metaphors, no doubt.
And then on through the Rockies which were more rock than sky, and at last, through Denver driving east, we looked back on our trail at mountains and snow (which we’d see quite a lot of) and sky.

Mountains and Sky.
 Happy Trails!